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NIMBUS

Cast

Symphonic Prog


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lor68
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This time I should like to erase an half star at least: in fact their stuff,in the course of their long music career, is disseminated with all those derivative and often prolix albums, regarded almost in all the circumstances as a tiring repetition of the same "formula"...that is a progressive rock clichè, becoming tiring at the end!! Here is a clear example,represented by their song "Reunion 2003":in fact by means of this latter they perform a new revisit of the main theme of "Landing in a serious mind"; and moreover "Extension 17" was already played by a different line-up consisting of a couple of members from Cast, many years ago (since about 1978), who took great delight in performing a kind of jazz music.Ok, coming back to the present issue, it's a pleasant music excursion, even though they are a Mexican "insititution of prog music" nowadays,so you know what you are going to listen to.You can check it out without a doubt, but to me the present album is suitable for their "diehard fans" only...never mind anyway!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#30548)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
hdfisch
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I listened already to a couple of albums from this band and until now I favoured Al-Bandaluz, but since I listened to NIMBUS, I've got to say that this one is even better. It's in my view their first album which does not confirm the typical neoprog cliché. One reason for the shift in their style might be the addition of the sixth member José 'Pepe' Torres who extends the sound by providing saxophone, flute and clarinet. The music on this album is in some way a perfect blend of classical prog with some jazz elements and in some parts a strong tendency towards progmetal. In the classical prog parts it sounds to me reminiscent of ELP or VDGG. Obviously there is some concept behind the album, but my knowledge of Spanish language is not sufficient to get it.

The album consists of 16 tracks which are grouped in four parts. It opens in a very captivating way with the first part of Ladrona de Sueños: threatening keyboard riffs, rough heavy guitars and screaming sax interludes. Parts 2 and 3 of this suite are placed later on the CD, part 2 has mainly keyboard with vocals and the final one is all instrumental apart of some spoken words, a rather savage and weird track featuring some sax playing again.

Second suite 911 consists as well of three parts. First part has vocals both in Spanish and English accompanied by piano, keyboards and acoustic/electric guitar. The title obviously refers to the US emergency phone number or possibly to the world trade attack. Second part is all instrumental and very nice with flute, piano, keyboards and electric guitar. The third part My New Home is instrumental as well, but acoustic, the best one IMHO, the flute gives it a strong reminiscence to JETHRO TULL. I noticed already on their other albums that usually the instrumental sections are the strongest ones of this band.

Volando En Uno Mismo brings back some electric guitar, again flute and piano, quite FOCUS-reminiscent and a great track as well. Sucio Nino Bien has some intricate melodies, vocals in Spanish and a nice guitar solo. Suenos De Platino is another great instrumental track featuring electric guitar, keyboards and clarinet. Just the sound of the drums could be better in some way. Dias De Sol Y Luz is a mellow song with piano, flute, some tender electric guitar and guest vocalist Guadalupe Acuána, a nice counterpart to the vocs of Hernández.

Cataclismo , the first part of Un Siglo De Invierno is a quite progmetal-alike track, but not really perfectly done since the drums don't sound very good. Apart from this flawing the performance of the musicians is great. On second part Esperenza Austral they're coming back to a more mellow mood in the beginning but the rest of the track sounds more or less like Part 1. En La Cueva Y El Bosque is a bit of a medieval/classical blend and Reunion 2003 is an acoustic version of a song from their debut album. Hojarasca is an acoustic track with rather querulous tunes whereas the final one Extension 17 has a more cheerful mood.

SUMMARY:

NIMBUS is an excellent album and possibly the best one they've ever done in my view. The addition of instruments like flute,clarinet and sax really expanded their sound in a very nice way and brought it away from the typical Neoprog style of earlier albums. The only critics I've to put on the poor drumming in progmetal-alike parts like Cataclismo. Disregarding this point it's rather close to a masterpiece. I would say it's worth 4,5 stars and a strong recommendation for any progfan.

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Send comments to hdfisch (BETA) | Report this review (#30549)
Posted Wednesday, February 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I consider their previous album "Al-Bandaluz" one of their best albums so far (just a bit too long...). As Cast has already done in the past, we'll get several "suite" type of songs available on "Nimbus".

"Ladrona De Sueños" opens the album with a harder attack than usual. The complex stucture, the powerful sax and the scary mood of "part I" has the permanent KC mark. But it sounds a bit loose, I'm afraid. Part II sounds as a medieval madrigal and is not appealling at all. Last section is again on the heavy side : chaotic and structureless. Limit experimental. Although the second half of it is is fully symphonic. I told you : structureless.

I far much prefer the second "suite". "911" is a powerful but subtle track which is more in the Cast tradition. The flute in here is great (but I like very much this instrument). Just listen to the grandeur of the finale of "part II". Wonderful. Part III sounds like several songs of this album. If you like trespass, you will like it as well.

"Volando" is a dynamic rock number. Somewhat different which brings some variety. Not bad, actually. Very powerful.

"Sucio Niño Bien" is a beautiful piece of music. A combination of PFM and early Genesis (but there is nothing new here). Part I is particularly well achieved : full of sweetness. It is a real delight. Part II, is harder and scary. I admit that the clarinet in the second part adds a special flavour (hi KC). The finale is rather melodic and rhythmy. My preferred song here.

We stay in the same mood with "Días De Sol Y De Luz". Female vocals combined with flute again is very expressive. A tranquil moment. This is how I like Cast the most. Symphonic prog at its best. Extremely melodic. Another highlight.

Complete change for "Un Siglo De Invierno". More complex, dark and hard. Maybe it is due to its theme (a winter lasting for hundred years), I don't know. Part I ("Cataclism" !) is very pleasant though. It is a nice contrast in comparison with "Sucio" and "Días". Powerful sax is displayed here. It will automatically remind you the master of the genre : Dave Jackson (VDGG) of course. Introduction of "Austral Hope" (part II) is again more melodious (like "Sucio" part I). The flute has again a major role and I appreciate every single second of it. A very pleasant moment. At half time, the dark side gets back. Fully Crimsonesque.

Don't try to understand the lyrics from "En La Cueva Y En El Bosque". The chorus is sung in Nahuatl (a pre-Columbian dialect). It is based on the cantics that the native people from that era were singing in their temples. It might be faithful to these legends but it is not my cup of tea.

"Reunion 2003" is a re-worked version of their "reunion" song released in "94. This acoustic version is a sign of recognition of the previous line-up who used to end their concerts with this song. Some nostalgia there. This version won't be remembered for the years to come, I'm afraid.

"Bojarasca" is another very quiet instrumental song. I have to say that since Dino has left, I could hardly cope with their lead vocalist (while female guests were fine, maybe a hint for Cast ?). The closing number is a very old song which they used to play way before they started recording. It is fully jazz-rock oriented which is not my cup of tea.

The first times I listened to "Nimbus" I did not really like it; I had marked it as a two-stars record. But the more I listen to it, the more I like it. So, be patient with it, it won't be love at first sight (which is mostly the case with Cast records, anyway).

Three solid stars (but if two or three songs would have been left over, I might have rated four).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#131781)
Posted Sunday, August 05, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars CAST added a sixth member for this album in the form of a flute / sax / clarinet player. Once again we get a long one clocking in at 79 minutes. These guys seem to have an endless supply of ideas and great music.The problem for me once again is that it's too long, and like Zowie Ziggy mentions, if you could drop a few tracks this would be a four star album. Still like every album by them i've heard there is some outstanding music to be enjoyed. Both English and Spanish vocals on this one.

"Ladrona De Suenos (Part I)" is a top three track. An interesting tune with almost operatic vocals early on. I like when the sound picks up before 3 1/2 minutes. "The 911 Suite Part I" opens with atmosphere as fragile vocals join in. Piano after 2 minutes when the vocals stop. It's still pastoral until it kicks in before 4 minutes.Vocals a minute later.This is good. It settles after 8 minutes with reserved vocals before kicking back in late. "The 911 Suite Part II" is an uptempo instrumental. "The 911 Suite Part III" has the same sound they just slow it down some. "Volando En Uno Mismo" is a top three. A jazzy mode here with flute. It picks up after a minute with the guitar out front. It settles back again with flute leading as contrasts continue. "Suicio Nino Bien Part I" is pastoral with vocals. It picks up after 2 minutes but the tempo continues to change. "Suicio Nino Bien Part II" has some prominant horns part way through.

"Dias De Col Y Lux" has some female vocals this time but male vocals too. Flute and piano help out early. "Ladrona De Suenos Part II" features some atmosphere with laid back vocals and keys. "Ladrona De Suenos Part III" kicks in right away as spoken words then sax join in. Flute 2 1/2 minutes in. "Un Siglo De Invierno Part I" is mellow with flute and bass to start. Drums after a minute then it kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes. Nice. Guitar comes to the fore after 4 minutes. "On La Cueva Y El Bosque" has a classical vibe before turning Celtic then back to classical. Not a fan. "Reunion 2003" opens with acoustic guitar,percussion and flute. Piano then vocals follow. "Bojarasca" is mellow while the closer "Extension" is also a pleasant track with some nice guitar and horns.

Another good album that fails to get that 4 star rating. 3.5 stars.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#424482)
Posted Tuesday, March 29, 2011 | Review Permalink

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